We have teamed up with Stevie Van Horn to bring you a Summer Sustainability Series. This powerhouse of a woman is living TRASH-FREE and has so much to share. Through our series we're offering up a big dose of inspiration, an exciting giveaway, a view of how Ohm K works to be environmentally sustainable, and tips to make your daily life more eco-friendly. First, let us introduce you to our collaborator, Stevie Van Horn!
Hi ya darlin! Tell our community a lil bit about yourself and what brought you to Brooklyn -
Hi!!! Haha Well my name is Stevie, I grew up in Colorado, home of amazing mountains, fresh air, and awesome people. I moved from Boulder about 4 years ago hankering for a change. I am a mountain baby but the day I realized I needed to move was when I looked up at this amazing sunset overlooking the flatirons and my heart didn't pitter patter like it always used to. To be stagnant in a beautiful spot is scary, but I knew it meant I needed a challenge and I chose a place that was the least comfortable for me, Hello NYC!
What inspired you to start this trash free journey? When did it begin? Do you remember the exact moment you decided to make this lifestyle change?
I've been trash free since April of last year, so a little over a year, and I was inspired by a very wasteful day where I just got home from grocery shopping and the trash was completely empty at the time. I live with 3 other girls so it was a rare moment. Anyhow, no one came home that whole day and even through dinner so the trash bin was mine for the taking and for some reason I decided to pay a bit of attention to it. Needless to say I had tons of plastic bags, all my goods were plastic packaged, I had food before that went bad so I threw a bunch of that out. I had dinner that night and prepared a big meal where a ton more was thrown away and I ended up overflowing the entire bin by myself in one day. I just remember looking down at it as the lid was shutting and being like... " Where does this really go?" That is the moment of obsession where I sat down and just researched for hours and was blown away with facts about my food waste, the clothes I buy, the toothpaste I use, all my plastics, and it was honestly impossible to turn around. It was like I opened my eyes for the first time and all I could see were these global issues that we are all apart of and they all revolve around our overconsumption and the things we choose to buy. Not doing anything about it was like going back to bed and giving up.
How has living trash-free impacted your relationships?
It has impacted my relationships in the best way possible! My friends are so motivating to me and also really supportive. At first a lot of my closest friends were like "Hmm I don't know if its actually possible" but after some time they were all on board which felt so amazing. They are all super earth conscious too which makes dinners and beach times really easy to coordinate.
What has been the most exciting part of this journey for you so far?
The most exciting part of this journey is the endless opportunities for change! There is such an amazing community ready to be minimal and clean for our planet. There are also so many problematic avenues in our everyday life that needs change; from our grocery stores to our kitchen, what clothes we buy, how we freshen up. Every single thing has a source and its so important to understand how we are getting these sources and questioning if there is a better way to get it. All in all, there will always be something to learn, there will be always something to change, and there will always be people who are interested and motivated to make a change, and I can live off that energy for positivity and sustainability forever.
Your Instagram features so many beautiful kitchen experiments and farmer's market hauls. What are some of your favorite recipes?
Hands down my favorite recipes are always smoothie recipes. Pretty much every single one I make I put on Instagram with a full recipe attached. It is just one of those things where you can crave anything and tailor your smoothie to involve your cravings. You crave green nutrients, add some spinach, carrots, or celery etc.. you crave caramel and chocolate, you add cocoa powder and dates. Another big one is banana bread. I am going to blog about my favorite one I made recently in the next week because I can't stop thinking about it.
Oooo that sounds amazing. Can't wait to read about it. How can we find out more about your journey, recipes, tips?
I would sum up my Instagram as an intimate encounter into my sustainable everyday choices. haha does intimate sound creepy? Come join me on my intimate and sustainable journey hahaha. However for a more thorough explanation of why I make my choices you gotta check out my blog and my website! The whole thing is about how to make life fun and sustainable. They go hand in hand and I can't wait for people to check it out!
What is the ONE thing you'd urge everyone to do, eliminate, change about their routine to make an impact?
One thing I urge everyone to do to really make a difference is to avoid all plastics, and if not all plastics then the single use plastics and hot to-go cups. Single use plastics are such a nuisance because plastic never degrades fully so it will eventually end up in the landfill to live longer than us and even longer than the next couple generations. Often times they end up in oceans, streams, lakes or water ways, clogging the natural earth and suffocating animals and filling their belly with toxins. We need to rethink plastics and get it out of our food chain. Hot cups are lined with polyethylene which is also immortal so the hot coffee you had this morning for 20 minutes will be in the landfill forever, it is just not worth it. Bringing a mason jar or any other re-usable mug can make a world of a difference in saving our resources, other species, and keeping our oceans and streams looking like we never touched it. Another HUGE way to make a difference is to minimize meat and cheese. It takes about 2,700 gallons of water to produce 3 pounds of meat and the methane being given off the entire time of the cows life is outrageous. Meat production is one of the highest contributors to global warming. If you gave up meat and cheese for even 2 or 3 days of the week, it would be massively lessening your footprint.
What is on the horizon for you?
What is coming for me? Oh man that is an exciting question. I have immense excitement about all of this so I have too many projects in my head formulating all the time haha. I am going to throw a zero waste dinner at The Farm on Kent, monthly beach clean ups, definitely more delicious ways to lower your footprint at no cost to your hunger and delicious ways to maximize your health.
We are so inspired by what you're doing. Thank you for sharing your journey with us and for collaborating with us for this Summer Sustainability Series!
Feeling inspired? Motivated? Have a lot of questions? GOOD! Let the conversation begin. You can find us on Instagram @liveohmk and Facebook. We have fun ideas, interviews and an exciting GIVEAWAY coming up! You could win an Ohm K Eco Elephant Set and Stevie's Trash-Free starter kit. The giveaway will be announced on Instagram so follow us and @stevieyaaaay
Today and always - YOU are Ohm K